A Selection from On Human Nature, Gregory of Nazianzus

But why me? why’s it for me to sing so much of humankind’s misfortunes?
The ache exists for each one of our race.
It’s not by me that the earth goes unshaken, the gales batter the seas;
and the hours give way to each other in a rush:
night’s laid rest to day, the air’s grown thick with cold.
The stars by the sun and the sun by a cloud
find their beauty expunged: and the moon revives.
Again, this heaven, full of stars, is half as bright.
And you, Lucifer, were once among the angelic choirs,
O evil-eyed! But you’ve dropped now shamefaced from the heavens.
Be merciful to me, O Trinity, cherished kingdom: not even you
entirely escaped the tongue of senseless mortals.
First the Father, afterwards the great Child, and then the great God’s
Spirit is attacked by scurrilous words.
Where will you stop while carrying me further, bad-counseling worry?
Stop. Everything is secondary to God. Give in to reason.
God didn’t make me in vain. I am turning
my back upon this song: this thing was from our feeble mindedness.
Now’s a fog, but afterwards the Word, and you’ll know all,
whether seeing God, or eaten up by fire.
Now, when the beloved mind had sung for me these things,
it digested its pain. And late from the shady grove I headed home,
now laughing at this self-estrangement, then once again
heart in anguish smoldering, from a mind at war.

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